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The Arthritis Newsletter

Summer 2018

The Importance of Weight Management

By Kelly English, APAB member

 

As found in Dr. Jolanda Cibere’s recent research, there is a link between obesity and developing knee osteoarthritis due to inflammation. Maintaining a healthy weight and participating in exercise are two key tools that can decrease risk. Manage your weight with these tips and tricks!

 

  • Weigh yourself every couple of weeks. It can be really easy to have extra pounds creep up, and with aging comes a slower metabolism – but that doesn’t need to translate into weight gain.

 

  • Do strength building exercises. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest on a daily basis. Ask your physiotherapist or kinesiologist, or in British Columbia you can call HealthlinkBC 811 to speak to an exercise physiologist about how to build more muscle.

 

  • Do something active when you hang out with friends! Go for walks, meet at the gym, or go for a hike. Take the dog out for a walk – don’t just stand in a dog park.

 

  • Keep a food diary for a week. If you live in British Columbia, review it for free with a dietitian at HealthlinkBC 811 (check your province for such a service). They can give you tips on how to eat healthy and manage your weight.

 

  • Consider working with a nutritionist to develop healthy meal plans tailored to people living with arthritis.

 

  • Have lots of whole foods that you love around the house. Use these as snacks to take on the go to avoid purchasing processed food. Switching to a more whole-foods nutrition plan can help manage weight and improve arthritis symptoms as well.

 

  • Mindfulness can also help with eating habits and weight management. When you reach for food, ask yourself “do I really need to eat this right now?” Are you really hungry, or are you thirsty? Or are you eating because you are bored? If so, try to drink a glass of water and distract yourself with another activity.

 

  • Stay hydrated! Add fruit to your water to help you drink more and aim for at least two litres a day. Avoid juice – go for water with a fruit infusion instead.

 

  • Get enough sleep. When we’re tired, our hormones related to weight management are affected.

 

  • Add lots of colour to your day in the form of vegetables and fruits. Try some different grains. Try to avoid white rice, white pasta, white bread and other forms of highly refined grains.

 

  • Don’t skip meals. If you get tired mid-morning and afternoon, reach for protein – a few nuts, a piece of fruit with peanut butter, or maybe a hard-boiled egg.

 

  • Use a nine inch plate (most plates are larger) for portion control. Half the plate should be veggies of all colours, particularly orange and dark green. A quarter of the plate should be protein (use the palm of your hand as a size reference for appropriate meat portions), and a quarter of the plate should be whole grains.

 

  • Keep at it and don’t get discouraged; jump back on if you fall off. Remember, it takes six weeks to establish a good habit.
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